Splash Magazines

An Arabian Nights Adventure: Bassata Desert Village in Ras Al Khaimah United Arab Emirates

By Glenn Harris

View the Full Article | Return to the Site

There is a child in all of us that is always in pursuit of an adventure. Somewhere exciting to go and experience something new and fun. Sinbad, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, 1001 Arabian Nights  are all tales made us dream of our own Arabian Nights adventure.  The adventure that most may think of when coming to Arabia is to live like the Bedouins; in the desert and a tent, living with camels, and nights around the campfire telling stories and enriching ourselves with the culture of the people. 


When coming to the UAE, there is a chance to live this adventure at the Bassata Desert Village in the vast and pristine desert of Ras al Khaimah. This is a modern luxurious version of the adventure so you’ll be pampered while experiencing the Bedouin lifestyle for the evening. 


The experience begins with welcome of snacks and tea and then you are escorted to your tent. You’ll be there with other adventurers and you’ll sit on the floor on pillows and carpets. The tents are made from camel hair and are the same tents used by the Bedouin people for thousands of years.


But this facility is not the form or fashion from those years gone by. It is new and modern and a project supported by the Ras Al Khaimah government. The bathrooms and common areas are what you would find in a luxury resort. Around the sides there are various vendors selling crafts, souvenirs, and local items. There is a central facilities area with a fully stocked bar and a serving area for the feast, suitable for a Sultan, that you are about to experience.


In the center of the vast open space is a floor with pillows and table where some of the guest choose to sit. Other’s retreat to the tents on the knoll where there is an unobstructed view of the floor below.


As we settle in, our host checks in on us to see how we are doing and to tell us a bit more about the experience. All the staff are dressed in Bedouin attire and with a friendly smile he bid us marhaba or welcome and asked us where we were from. Most of the staff here are from the Middle East or Northern Africa and such places as Morocco and Egypt.


It is February when we are here and in the desert at night is chilly. Our Bedouin host ask if we have everything we need. He brings a blanket for us that adds a little romance to the evening as we sip wine and cuddle under the covers as the candles flicker on the tables around the tent.


The night we arrived there were  families, couples and small groups in attendance. I hear German, Dutch, Russian, Hindu, and Arabic spoken.  They venture out to various areas of the camp taking camel rides and there are ladies getting henna on their hands and feet. Some tourists dress up as Arabs to Facebook and instagram their pictures for soon to be jealous friends and family back home. Some people are at the bar enjoying a refreshing libation.


While all the festivities are going on, an army of white-coated cooks and chefs hurry about to prepare the feast. You know that you are in for something special as you see the preparations take place with serving trays and dishes being put in place.


Off to the side there is a massive grill and the flames from the charcoal sizzle the meats and spread the aroma about the camp. The call for dinner goes out and the readied guests make their way to the buffet. This is an Arabic Barbeque and the food is delicious and plentiful with too many choices to name.  Beef, lamb, chicken and fish as well as various salads, vegetables side dishes, and desserts are on the menu each night.  We take our trays back to our tent and have a thoroughly enjoyable meal chatting with other couples nearby in our tent.



After dinner, just as the inevitable drowsiness from over eating sets in, they raise the tiempo with the entertainment. In the central floor/stage area the spotlights come on and the talent enters the stage. Many of the guests leave the comfort of their tent to move closer at the tables around the stage area for a closer look or to take more jealousy inducing Facebook photos.


First up is the belly dancer.  It’s a bit chilly out but she doesn’t not seem to mind as she winds and gyrates around the floor. Her body seems to move without a spine as she moves in every direction. The audience is mesmerized with her shaking and shimmering.


Next up is the Egyptian Tanoura  dancer.  I cannot understand how he is able to do what he does. Basically he twirls in one direction at a frantic pace for 30 minutes. As he twirls, his costume begins to “fly’ with each twist higher and higher. He begins to juggle various objects and layers of his costume become part of his props as he then lifts over his head. All of this while the music in the back grounds drums and trumpets in a frenzy matching his pace. By now he’s sweating and is moving as intensely as the music. Any other mortal on the planet would have collapsed from dizziness after five minutes. For his finale, the spotlights on him go dark and with a flash, his costume lights up. It looks like a Christmas tree is caught in a tornado as the music intensifies and he twirls even faster.  When the tiempo is a peak and he twirling is at a ridiculous pace with a sharp drumbeat he collapses and the music halts.  Wow.



After a robust applause from the amazed onlookers, he picks out a guest from the audience. She joins him on stage and he puts his costume on her. She begins to twirl while laughing and talking to her friends in Russian. The costume begins to rise but she then falls and all join her with laugher.


After the entertainment is done, we go back to our tent to relax a bit while talking about the exciting evening that we just experienced. It was a wonderful time. Some of the guest will stay the night and wake to a deluxe breakfast. We decide to call it a night and return home.


There are many companies providing various types of dessert safaris. The Bassata Desert Village has taken the experience and made it a five star evening with their delicious Arabian barbeque, the deluxe facilities, the service, and the entertainment. If you seek to enjoy the Arabian nights adventure you always dreamed of as a child, Bassata Dessert Village in Ras Al Khaimah is the way to do it in style. 

For more information visit Arabia Escapes

Published on May 26, 2014

View the Full Article | Return to the Site